By Madrey Hilton
As the first semester comes to an end, many students are considering their options for Jan-Term and Spring semester. For students already living on campus, the 2021 school year won’t be too different or much of an adjustment. The same is not necessarily true for Saint Mary’s students who stayed home this semester, but are hopeful to come on campus in a few months. What makes this new semester more appealing for on campus housing? Well, for starters most students are tired of the long days spent at home ever since quarantine started in March. A lot of students are expecting the campus housing department to have enough housing available and hopefully a few modified rules from fall semester.
In late October, Campus Housing sent out an email with a lot of important information. One of the major changes is the option to live on a room with one other roommates, unlike during the fall semester when only single occupancy rooms were available: “As the County and Saint Mary’s continues to monitor the phased re-opening of services and programs, we do expect for students in suite-style and townhouse-style living arrangements to have the opportunity to have roommates in bedrooms. Most of the spaces that are available in townhouses will be double occupancy.”
This makes room for a lot more students on Saint Mary’s campus, and will hopefully help the students moving in spring semester be less anxious about moving out of their homes and into the dorms. While Saint Mary’s will continue to take precautions to keep the students safe, it looks like the residential experience is still a great option for current off-campus students.
RJ Dore, a freshman at SMC, currently lives off-campus, but hopes to change that next semester, “There were a couple reasons I didn’t move in during fall semester. All of my classes were online and I wouldn’t have been able to have a roommate, but this upcoming semester most of the classes I plan on taking are in person. I also really just want to meet my classmates and it will be easier to do that if I’m on campus.”
The social aspect is a huge driving factor in students’ decisions to live in the dorms. It’s also a lot more practical to attend classes in person, instead of online. However, some students have opted to continue online learning at home the following semester.
A lot of first time students have decided to wait until next year to move on campus. Freshman Kayla Piegaro made the choice to stay home for just another semester. “I was originally planning to live on campus, but after thinking about it a lot, I’ve decided to stay home,” she says, “I’m staying home in order to save money and continue working. I’m also not taking any classes that are required to be in-person, so it just makes sense to stay at home this semester.”
Whether students decide to stay at home or move on campus, it is important that they take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Saint Mary’s has done a great job of keeping COVID-19 at bay, and this will hopefully continue on into the next semester, even with more students in the dorms. With a lot of options ahead of them, Saint Mary’s students will have the opportunity to positively impact their community, whether they choose to do this at home or on campus.
Victoria Vidales '21,